Chris Alesio has been waiting a long time to join the Siena College Athletics Hall of Fame.
The 47-year-old cardiac device salesman graduated from Siena in 1989 as the Saints’ second-leading hitter all-time.
“It feels like it’s 10 years too late,” he said with a chuckle. “Tony Rossi [Siena’s longtime head baseball coach] would call me and tell me I was on the ballot at least 10 different times. When I graduated, I was Siena’s second-leading hitter, and now I’m still fourth, but I’m an old guy going in, compared to all the rest.”
Alesio joins former Siena basketball standout Kenny Hasbrouck, volleyball star April London and tennis champion Sarah Mayer, all Class of 2009, in the induction ceremony, set for Dec. 28 at 11:30 a.m. at TASTE, located on 45 Beaver Street in Albany. A men’s-women’s basketball double-header at Times Union Center follows.
“It would have been better if my dad was still around to see this,” Alesio said. “He was always watching out for me. Honestly, it was the work ethic that I got through my family background that made me a good player. My dad always told me to leave everything on the field. He told me to give 110 percent and never look back. He kept me focused, and I needed that. I had a lot of energy growing up, and sports helped me stay focused and out of trouble.”
Alesio was a standout outfielder for the strong Mohonasen High School baseball teams of the mid-1980s coached by Bill Gold.
“We won the sectionals one year, and I remember beating Shen back then. We also came in runner-up in the Class B’s another year. We had three really good years in a row,” Alesio said. “I played four years on the varsity.”
After high school, Alesio starred for the Saints. He was named a 1988 New York State all-star following his junior season, when he hit .395 and had a .790 slugging percentage, third-best in Siena history. He also had a team-best 27 RBI despite playing in only 23 games.
Alesio finished his career with Siena with a lifetime batting average of .357. He was a two-time ECAC Division I all-star.
Alesio went on to play one year of professional baseball, with the Hamilton Redbirds of the New York-Penn League after signing a pro contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I just wanted to try the pro game and see if I could play. One year was enough for me,” Alesio said.
“I loved my time at Siena. Tony and I are still friends to this day. I had scholarship offers from Arizona State and two Florida schools. I picked Siena, and everyone thought I was crazy. But coach Rossi told me that he would make sure I graduated, and that I would also start. It worked out great for me.”
Alesio has helped out several area players by coaching hitting and fielding.
“I would love to coach baseball more, but I don’t have the time. It takes so much time to do what I do,” he said.
“Selling medical devices is a great career, and I’ve been doing it for more than 17 years. It’s a good profession if you like a challenge. Most of my trips are as far west as Syracuse or Cooperstown. I also sell products all over the Capital Region.”
Alesio has been married for 23 years to wife Elizabeth. He has two daughters, Logan and Olivia, and a son, Christopher Jr.
“I wish my dad could be here, but I’ll have a few family members and friends at the ceremony. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.